With four boys sharing a room, things can get a little loud and crazy at times. Really, since we have only beds and clothes in their rooms, they are not up there often. But waking up and going to bed can, at times, feel like a circus. Tate and I have set up many different safeguards to help keep things on track. For instance, Johnny has to get his clothes and dress in our room. However, even with the best intentions sometimes things can get away from us. Such was the case this past Sunday.
After Mass, everyone ran upstairs to get out of their church clothes and get ready to play. I was changing Mary in our room. The boys had their door shut, but you could still hear the cacophony. I considered going in there and telling them to settle down - or just yelling to settle down - but opted not to. This decision was based more on other tasks at hand. I knew the right thing to do was to go in there, but chose the path of least resistance. I just didn’t want to deal with it at that moment.
Seconds later I heard a huge crash and breaking glass. Now, I DEFINITELY went to the room. Upon opening the door, I saw 4 faces that knew they were busted. Joseph, who was in his top bunk bed (for what reason I do not know he was supposed to be changing) had thrown a bagged poop diaper across the room. Said diaper, hit the light fixture in the room causing it to come tumbling down and break into a million pieces. Having no words, I told them they would have to deal with their father when he came up the stairs. Until then, they were to sit in their beds and tremble :)
Taking the time to parent our children is so important. I had put off going in and settling my boys down, and now I had a broken light fixture and glass I had to clean up. I didn’t make things easier for myself in the end, it was far worse.
The older my kids become, the more attention they require. Babies are easy! You feed them, change them, hug them; they are happy. You don’t have to worry about the opposite sex, electronics, a sexualized culture, or a snarky attitude. As my children are starting to venture into their preteen and teen years, I see the work before Tate and me is vast. I also realize we MUST take the time to do it right, or I will be paying for it in far worse ways later. I have to do this when tired, busy, and in between. There is no excuse. There is no one who will take up the slack.
Our parents grew up in a society that still held to family values. We do not have that luxury. This means that if we want to raise our children in the image of Christ, we are going to have to say no to many of the things their peers are doing. When I grew up, it was difficult to get on the phone and talk to a boy. The phone was in the kitchen, number one. Second, it is was attached to the wall. So, I spent my days playing outside with the neighbors and my friends. Was I interested in boys? You bet! However, there were natural safeguards in place that prevented an unhealthy amount of time being spent on this. Such is not the case today with cell phones and constant texting.
I won’t waste your time talking about the differences in video games, TV, and movies. We are all very aware of the loss of Christian values in all of these.
What does this mean to us as parents? Do we need to wall our kids in and never let them out. Definitely not! However, we have to be diligent in setting up boundaries, we are going to often be the unpopular parent, we are going to have to spend LOTS of time showing our children entertainment and friends that are good for their souls.
We have to be intentional parents. We can’t take the path of least resistance. Succumbing to the pressures of society leads down paths of unhappiness and unfulfillment. We need to teach our children the importance and beauty of the human body. They need to understand why they should treat the opposite sex with respect. They need to be taught what they should and should not listen to and watch; not as an arbitrary decision, but because it is unhealthy for their heart and mind. We need to limit the use of electronics so our kids can learn to get outside and run and play. This will teach them how to keep their bodies healthy.
I am going to continue to make mistakes as a parent, of this I am sure. However, by the grace of God I pray this is the exception and not the norm. My children are not going to be happy with me at times. However, in time I pray they will see that the decisions we made were for the good of their soul. Other parents are going to look at me like I’m crazy and not understand. However, I pray I have the fortitude to do what is right no matter what others may think or say. If I am going to do this well, it is only going to be with much prayer and a strong faith in God.
Hopefully the boys have learned their lesson about throwing diapers around the room. I am sure there will be plenty more noise in the year to come! Whatever may be around the corner for our family, I pray for the grace to be an intentional parent and never choose the path of least resistance. JMJ